Boating in a shared economy

Boating in a shared economy

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The boating market is facing several challenges, aging being one of them. Furthermore the millennial generation is shifting towards sharing with access without owing. The possibilities of chartering a yacht are widespread, internet is giving opportunities for private owners to make some money by renting their boat out on Airbnb-like platforms. In between ownership and chartering there initiatives by means of sharing the use and/or ownership by a given number of individuals. Shared boat membership as offered by NetYachting in the Netherlands & Belgium being one of them.

“Costs associated with owning a new yacht can be out of the reach of many people” 

Sailing is often perceived as a leisure activity which is difficult to become involved in first of all because you have to learn to sail first and secondly due to the associated financial and time commitment factors which accompany owning a boat. NetYachting, amongst others, overcomes these with its concept of shared boat membership, comparable to a gym membership. This membership allows its members to sail a brand new, fully maintained yacht. For those wanting to sail on a regular basis, but feel it is inaccessible, Shared boat membership,  amongst others, provides a solution.

“Costs associated with owning a new yacht can be out of the reach of many people” explain Ragnar Koot and Tim Devloo responsible for the Dutch & Belgian activities respectively.  “The purchase price of the boat, the ongoing cost of marina fees, insurance, maintenance and general running costs, all add up.  Chartering is equally expensive, with a 37ft yacht costing anything upwards of EUR  400 per day in high season. NetYachting offers a viable alternative by overcoming these barriers, putting the fun back into sailing.”

Each yacht has a given number of members, one of them being the owner, which becomes ‘theirs’ while they are part of the NetYachting membership.  Members schedule their time onboard through an on-line iCalendar system. They can reserve their sail time instantly and can book their allocation up to 12 months in advance. With total flexibility and management over their sailing times, members can even swap time with other members on-line or invite their friends to join them when making a booking via an integrated e-mail system. Sailing times can be allocated to individual members based on their preferences thus providing a tailormade solution. The use of the boat can be further optimised by having individuals, families, retired people and companies sharing the use of the same boat. A membership fee typically starts at  EUR 250,00 for a weekday membership on a 34ft yacht.

There are no other costs for members – NetYachting pays for all the marina fees, maintenance, insurance and running costs. The yachts are available at least 9 months a year, with the exception of a two week period when they will be taken out of the water for essential maintenance. It has a professional yacht management programme in which damage or items that need to be fixed are reported. This system will guide users embarking or disembarking through a series of safety and equipment checks, reports any issues and deposits their passage plan.

The concept of Shared Boat Membership brings new buyers into the market as typically 5-6 fractional sailors equals a new boat being put into the program. Statistics show that half of every member leaving a membership programs buys their own boat (with or without sharing it). A great opportunity for both brokers as well as boat dealers to beat the demographic trends. 

The concept of Fractional Sailing is offering a solution for avid sailors to have their “own” yacht in the Netherlands without the time commitments and financial obligations of ownership thus leaving budget for a sailing holiday abroad.

What do you think about this concept? Will boat sharing become the airbnb of the sea? Let us know your view in the comment box below.

Text: Tim Devloo

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